You know the bits in the James Bond films when the athletic spy leaps over impossibly wide chasms, or flies across rooftops on a speeding motorbike, all the while keeping his balance, control and direction?
Well, there are situations when the obstacles are not physical, and the means to overcome them are words, ideas, opinions and collaboration – and yet the stakes are just as high.
This week’s guest post is by CCMC‘s Michalis Simopoulos, who shares with Peace Exchange the latest milestone in media collaboration across the divide, with the launch of the Collaborative Media Initiative report.
Take it away Michalis!
It’s been a long time in coming, but was worth the wait.
Since the Collaborative Media Initiative (CMI) project started back in June 2010, Peace it Together partner CCMC has been grappling with what ‘media collaboration across the divide’ actually means.
Media is not only a broad concept, but a fluid one. After all, in an increasingly globalised information environment, is it really possible to isolate the media in one locality without considering its interdependence on regional, as well as technological developments?
One thing is for sure – the case of the media in Cyprus is not unique. Media in conflict and post-conflict zones has impacted the lives of ordinary citizens in both negative and positive ways.
On the one hand we may recall the incitement of ethnic hatred across the Rwandan airwaves contributing to horrific genocide in 1994. On the other, we can only marvel at the courage of journalists such as Gordana Igric, Director of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), whose organisation has changed not only the media landscape across this volatile region, but is transforming the culture of antagonism and hatred of decades gone by.
In the case of Cyprus, the conflict continues to frame relations between the island’s two main communities, placing additional barriers to effective communication and information exchange between them.
It also has the effect of marginalising the voices of those who speak of Cyprus as one, relegating the importance of issues relevant to all communities on the island.
So bringing together media professionals in this environment is a necessary step to promote a culture of trust and understanding between communities.
A Potential Untapped: Media Working Together Across the Divide in Cyprus, the final report of the CMI launched on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at CCMC, highlights the importance as well as the potential of media collaboration for the future of Cyprus.
The report has identified ways in which different stakeholders – be they at the decision-making level, reporting in the field, or at the grass-roots civil society level – can contribute to a greater convergence of the media across the divide.
But equally, it has emphasised the need for organisations like CCMC to further empower people like Osman Kalfaoglu and Giorgos Kakouris, journalists at Yeniduzen and Politis newspapers respectively, who want to “explore ways to allow journalists to be able to exchange information on a daily basis across the divide” and to “open up new fields of inquiry and to connect the issues that concern Cypriots from a new, island-wide perspective”.
The full report is available for download on the CCMC website, and if you have any suggestions on how CCMC can support people like Giorgos and Osman, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks Michalis, an important milestone indeed!
Please keep the guest posts coming, and Peace Exchange will be back with more good stuff soon.
Have a great weekend and… see you in the next post!